Understanding A2L Refrigerants
What does low GWP mean?
Global Warming Potential (GWP) is the heat absorbed by any greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. GWP values are calculated as a multiple of the heat that would be absorbed by the same mass of carbon dioxide (CO2), which has been attributed a GWP value of 1. For example, common legacy HFC refrigerants like R-410A and R-404A have values of nearly 2,000 and 4,000 GWP respectively. HFO refrigerants have a much lower GWP. For example, HFO-1234yf has a GWP (AR5) of <1.
It is important to note that refrigerants can only impact the environment directly if they leak into the atmosphere. However, refrigeration systems, regardless of the refrigerant, can have an indirect effect due to carbon emissions from energy generation. Over the lifetime of a system, the climate impact of energy usage can often be larger than the direct emissions due to leaks.
What's driving the adoption of A2Ls?
As regulating bodies worldwide impose more stringent standards on the use of high GWP HFC refrigerants, more and more businesses are opting to replace their legacy refrigerants with lower GWP solutions.
A2L refrigerants allow end users to transition to very low GWP solutions and are becoming increasingly used in new equipment, while providing favorable performance and operating efficiencies compared to the refrigerants they replace.
It is important to note that most of the available lower GWP refrigerant options have some degree of flammability. Learn more about safe handling of A2L refrigerants.
GLOBAL REFRIGERANT REGULATORY LANDSCAPE
CFC and HCFC regulations are structured according to a phaseout schedule that leads to the discontinuation of production and importation in a specific time frame.
HFC regulations are based on a phasedown schedule that considers the GWP-weighted volume (defined as CO2-equivalent tons) of an entire class of products during a specified set of baseline years, and then reduces the available CO2-equivalent tons over time in order to drive the industry to lower GWP solutions. By the final years of the HFC phasedown, countries will reach 15–20% of their original baseline and remain at that level going forward. Each country can decide on the most effective mechanism to reduce the GWP of products being used; for example, CO2-equivalent quota allocations, specific GWP limits by application, tighter leak management, maintenance requirements, or a combination of the above.
Click on your country of interest to view the regulation time horizon.
Do these regulations apply to you?
The likely answer is “yes.” If you are a refrigeration/air conditioning equipment manufacturer, auto maker, industry supplier, contractor, facilities operator, or business owner using any type of refrigeration, air conditioning, or heat pump, the changing global regulations will likely impact you and your business.
High GWP HFC refrigerants are being phased down in favor of low GWP alternatives. Have you started planning for the transition? If you need help, contact our experts.
The Optimal Balance
Opteon™ refrigerants feature zero ozone depletion potential and lower GWP values under AR4/AR5 than the HFCs they are designed to replace. Specifically, Opteon™ XL refrigerants have an ASHRAE and ISO Safety classification of A2L and deliver very low GWP solutions (for instance, Opteon™ XL10 has a GWP of <1).
Compared to other lower GWP alternatives, Opteon™ refrigerants offer improved:
Opteon™ XL refrigerants are proving their value in installations around the world.